The Boston Red Sox plucked two prized free agent plums this offseason which will add plenty of punch to a lineup that could be historically punishing. Are they a wise choice in our MLB picks for the upcoming season?
The 2105 Outlook
While I am not oblivious to Boston’s perceived starting pitching woes I am truly bowled over by what could be a phenomenal offensive performance this season by a lineup that could plate 900 runs or better this season. Yes, it would be a sharp trajectory for a team that spectacularly underachieved last season in all aspects of the game managing just 634 runs which ranked them 18th in the majors. However, if you review their anticipated lineup you will see a team that has plenty of potential to make opposing pitchers wince if not flat out cry. Let’s take a look at this MLB powerhouse.
1-Mookie Betts (RF)
The 22-year-old Betts is tearing the cover off the ball in spring training. While that doesn’t necessarily translate to regular season success he does have 189 at-bats under his belt from his inaugural season in 2014 where he registered a .291 average and a whopping 88.3 percent contact rate. Bill James, longtime Boston stats guru, has the kid pegged for 13 homeruns which would be icing on the cake for a young gun slated to be the Red Sox leadoff hitter.
2-Dustin Pedroia (2B)
Wrist injuries derailed the former All-Star last season but if this spring is any indication then he is completely healed from the physical woes that plagued him in 2014.
3-David Ortiz (DH)
Big Papi will have plenty of protection around him this season as opposed to last. Questions abound about when Father Time will finally get the better of him but right now he is a big slugger who could see his average hover near .300 if he cheats injury and his advancing age.
4-Hanley Ramirez (LF)
Keeping Ramirez healthy is a big concern as he has played just one full season in the past four but when on top of his game he is one of the most feared hitters in either league.
5-Pablo Sandoval (3B)
The Kung Fu Panda will be bashing early and often in hitter friendly Fenway Park and you can bet with his supporting cast and a short porch that Sandoval will crush it in Beantown as long as he remains injury free as he did last season.
6-Mike Napoli (1B)
Okay so the familiar refrain “if he stays healthy” applies here as well. Napoli launched 17 dingers in 119 games last season and will be good for many more if he stays injury free. If not, Allen Craig could see time at first-base and could be the surprise of the season if he gets in a groove.
7-Rusney Castillo (CF)
You don’t spend $72 million plus if you’re going to relegate that player to a platoon role. Shane Victorino will not be happy about his second-class status behind Castillo but if the reports out of Cuba are true then this could be the best 7th batter anywhere, anytime.
8-Xander Bogaerts (SS)
After being universally acclaimed as one of the best prospects in all of baseball and showing maturity beyond his years in Boston’s 2013 championship run Bogaerts tailed off last season but the kid is loaded with potential and if that pays off in ’15 then look out!
9-Christian Vazquez (C)
Vazquez is touted more for his defense and pitch calling than his offense but at number nine he won’t hurt you.
So what’s it all mean? Sure the Sox could have an explosive offense but with a starting five that has no bona fide ace is it all for naught? Absolutely not! There’s a reason why the Red Sox are +190 in MLB odds to win the AL East from 5Dimes Sportsbook and they are worth every dime. As a matter of fact they will feast on AL East opposition which is where the boys from Boston will pocket plenty of wins. As of this writing they are also favored to win the AL Pennant at 11/2 and even that is not a stretch with the thunderous lineup that will bash pitchers into next season. If we’re going to make the case for them winning the pennant then why not plunk down a few (or more) dineros on the Sox to win the World Series at the 10-1 price being offered in MLB odds?
Get down on the Boston Red Sox in your MLB picks now…and cash those tickets in late September.